F1 Today – 14/12/2018

F1 Today

Vettel expecting nothing wrong with Leclerc on track

Sebastian Vettel says that he does not expect “anything wrong on track” between himself and his teammate for next season Charles Leclerc. In his four season at Ferrari he developed at strong relationship off track withKimi Raikkonen.

There has been speculation that the Monacan’s arrival at Ferrari, after a single season at Sauber, will create a different dynamic within the team. It is expected that Leclerc will begin to challenge the four times champion immediately.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Vettel said “I don’t know Charles so much yet, he doesn’t know me. We know each other [to some degree], he’s a good kid, so I don’t expect that there’s anything wrong on-track. We will be rivals as much as Kimi and myself have been rivals.”

“You will try to get first and if you do that you beat everybody else, also your teammate. We will see, we also know we want to bring Ferrari back to winning ways. For him it’s a different point in his career compared to mine.”

Vettel says that time will tell and that from what he knows that Leclerc seems like a good guy.

Vettel joked that after four years together “maybe he[Raikkonen] had enough” but, having already said he would miss the Finn’s “zero bulls***” mentality, admitted he would have liked it if Raikkonen had stayed.

Vettel and Leclerc, remain one of the biggest sub-plots going into next season. It remains to be seen whether Leclerc can challenge and beat Vettel, how the German responds will show what he learnt from fighting with Daniel Ricciardo.

When Ricciardo arrived at Red Bull in 2014, he comprehensively beat Vettel on track after he securing four world titles.  Leclerc’s priority is to use every available resource to improve – which includes working well with Vettel.

Leclerc added “I have to continue to grow and be focused on the areas where I’m still weak. I will try to learn from everyone in the team and also from my teammate.”

“[The programme is to] get ready as much as I can. I can’t wait to be in the car in the first test and in the first race.”

Leclerc targets two wins next year

Charles Leclerc says that he is looking to win two Grand Prix’s next year when he makes his debut for Ferrari. Following his impressive debut season at Sauber, Ferrari decided to that they should replace Kimi Raikkonen with the former F2 champion.

Although the Monacan will face more pressure and scrutiny as he goes up against the four time champion, but he is insisting that he isn’t worried and has set himself clear targets for 2019. Speaking at Autosprint’s Caschid’Oro ceremony on Italy on Thursday night, Leclerc said: “Pressure? No, I do not feel it. Rather I feel the support and I must say that I am happy. My goal is obviously to do my best and respect the team’s expectations.”

“I will have at my side a driver like Sebastian Vettel who will be an important help for me to grow and learn. He is a wonderful person, as well as a great driver, and I got to know him when I worked at the Maranello simulator and he thanked me for the work I did.”

He has set himself the target of winning a couple of races next year, including his home race around the principality and the teams home race in Monza.

Reflecting on his first outing as a Ferrari race driver he said, “How did I find it? Unbelievable. The car is fabulous to drive. It was a great honour as well as a great emotion. Obviously we are talking about a test, it does not make much sense to talk about performance in absolute terms, but the feeling was immediately exceptional.”

Ferrari announces launch plans

Ferrari has announced that they will launch there 2019 car, the 670, on Friday 15th February. The Italian car manufacture is the first team to announce details of its launch.

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene confirmed the news during the Autosprint award ceremony of Caschi d’oro. This year Ferrari hasn’t held its annual lunch for journalists, instead the announcement came at the of the prestigious event of the Conti Editore, that was combined with the delivery of the ACI steering wheels.

said Arrivabene said, “The group led by [technical director]Mattia Binotto has been working on next year’s single-seater for months now. The engines are already running on the test benches and there are parts of the car that are already in production.”

“Instead, the parts more related to the performance will arrive at the last moment, even if the tension increases because the time is less and less. On February 15 we will present the car and everything must be ready for that day.”

Engine manufactures could share technology with new ones

Formula One is looking at introducing new regulations which could require existing manufacturers to share technology with new engine manufactures.

The idea is seen by Liberty Media as a compromise, after they backed down on plans to overhaul Formula One’s engine regulations in 2021. Last year, the teams backed the scope for cheaper, more closely matched and louder.

But initial plans to simplify the current power units were met with opposition among existing manufacturers, who were concerned that it would dumb down the sport and still face the cost of developing a new engine.

instead, changes to fuel restrictions and rev limits were agreed to combat concerns about noise and power, but they will do little to lower the barrier of entry for new manufacturers.

But F1 managing director for motorsport and technical director Ross Brawn says a compromise solution has now been found that will ensure new manufacturers can hit the ground running when they arrive in F1. He told F1.Com“The drawbridge has been pulled up and the existing suppliers don’t want anyone else to come in. [But] we have found a compromise.”

“There are regulations coming out which would mean new entrants will get support from existing entrants. There will be components and technology which will have to be shared if it is requested.

“It is not quite such a radical change that we were proposing, but still quite a good step in the right direction and there are some nice changes to the way the driver has to manage the engine, which I think goes a long way in the sporting direction.”

However, Brawn hinted that the current manufactures recognise and accept that they would need to cooperate if new manufacturers got interested in the sport.

F1 remains on target for new aero regulations, which have proved less contentious, in 2021. These are aimed at increasing overtaking and give better looking cars.

However, to prevent bigger teams devoting resources to 2021with the aim of getting a head start, Brawn said the full regulations will only be finalised one year out from the 2021 season.

He added “It’s not enough for teams to go off and start designing a car, we’re purposefully trying to hold back on that. We don’t want teams with a lot of resource to gain a march on those who don’t.”

“But it’s a difficult balance because there is a perfectly valid argument that the later you leave the issuing of the information, the more it suits the teams with a lot of resource.”

Verstappen doesn’t worry about Honda blow ups

Max Verstappen says he doesn’t mind if his Honda engine “blows up” next season, as long as he is given more opportunities to win races. Red Bull have ended their Renault partnership to switch to Honda and Verstappen is itching to start F1 2019 already.

However, concerns remain about reliability of the power unit as the Japanese manufacturer and Toro Rosso suffered a failure at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP. But Verstappen insists he is not worried. He told SkySports “I think this year has already been pretty good.

“They have taken a lot of engines just because they could, because they were at the back or something happened. I prefer, maybe, to win a race and then blow up in one than be consistently slow.”

Sainz aims to lead McLaren to the front

Carlos Sainz says that he has joined McLaren believing that the British team can return to the front of the grid. The Spaniard is replacing Fernando Alonso, who has decided to retire following four difficult seasons with the team.

Sainz is joining the Woking based team at the lowest point in there Formula One history. The former world champions go into 2019 twenty years since they last won the constructors and six years without a win, but Sainz says management has shown him a clear plan to bring the team back to the top.

Speaking earlier this week, at the launch of the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition smartphone, he said “I don’t see a lot of scratching heads. I see they more or less have a very clear picture of what has happened, why and the way we need to improve.”

“So already when I got here, they made me an explanation and presentation of what happened, so for me it was very positive to see some clear minds out there and strong leadership to see where we are going.”

He says that the team does have a direction, but are looking at the analysis, and its unknown if it will work. Sainz says that it’s a process to return to the top, and he was proud of the team as they look to improve together.

However, Sainz is wary of the advantage reigning championsMercedes has at the top of the championship. “I think McLaren has the tools [toreturn to the top] but I still think that Mercedes has set a new bar to everyone.”

“I think every team that is not Mercedes right now is playing catch up because they have set a new benchmark to all the teams of F1.”

He insisted that he sees McLaren as a long term project, and not just a stepping stone to a bigger team. He believes the only way to do that other than on track results is “s showing good commitment to the brand, to the team, getting on well with everyone.

“I can tell you that this last month has been a very encouraging sign to see how everyone has welcomed me and the way we’ve been working together this last month.”

Chandhok returns to Sky Sports

Karun Chandhok he will be leaving Channel 4 to re-joinSky Sports for 2019. The former F1 driver and journalist left the broadcaster in 2015 to join Channel 4, but the pay TV broadcaster has exclusive rights to all live races expect the British Grand Prix from 2019.

Chandhok said “I’m very excited to be re-joining the Sky Sports F1 team from the 2019 season. With their long-term commitment to Formula1 and the team of people that’s in place, it’s a great time to return.”

“I believe that I’ve been able to develop and offer viewers a unique perspective of someone with a technical, strategic and broadcaster in of the sport combined with the experience of 18 years of driving racing cars.”

The former Hispania and Lotus driver recently announced on social media that his wife has had their first child, a name has not been announced yet.

Scott Young, Head of F1 at Sky Sports, said: “We are delighted that Karun has decided to return to Sky Sports F1. Our team is renowned for their knowledge and credibility and Karun, who is a familiar and respected member within the paddock, will elevate our ability to tell the F1story as it unfolds live across our screens.”

The Week Ahead

Next week is the final real working week for the teams, so expect the news agenda to be rather quiet. We will continue on the theme we have seen this week with drivers and teams reflecting on the season, we I think have more of the same.

We may get some of the launch dates now that Ferrari has kick started the launch events announcements. We will be looking back on 2018 and ahead to next year, some of the highlights this weekend will be sports personality awards across Europe.

The drivers will be heading off on their Christmas break and so there isn’t going to be much as we all wind down over the holidays.

We will be back next week, Monday – Wednesday, Friday before we take a Christmas break. F1 Today will not be published from Monday 24th December until Wednesday 2nd January, we during that period be publishing our season review.


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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